I tried to compile twelve good productivity tools that I plan to use in 2012. All these tools are free and some of them have professional paid edition.
This is a great alternative to gotomeeting and webex web conferencing system. I have also used it many times for customer support. The free version is powerful enough for your team meetings across geographically boundaries. The pro version, that costs $15 per month, makes it very usable for running webinars for upto 200 people.
Here is one of the best tools for taking your meeting notes or jotting down ideas when you are on the move. It’s camera interface allows you to take picture from your mobile camera and store it on the cloud. I have found it as a simple and usable tool for small business. The pro version allows more storage and ability for other people to change your notes.
Managing various computers from one place is a challenge, even with software like Remote Desktop that comes bundled with the Microsoft Operating system. The reason is that very few tools of this kind works purely on the web. Logmein does not need you to do any setup and create firewall rules or router passthrough settings. It just works on the web. The authentication seems to be solid.
This is a simple tool to sync your files in the cloud. Why do you need such a thing? if you are working on various computers, like your office and home, this software allows you to automatically share and keep files and folders in both places in sync.
Skype is a useful software for communication between teams. Be it audio, video or plain phone calls. It works on desktop and mobile phones. It can replace all your telephones and gives you the convinience of having one telephone number following you everywhere.
A nice tool for you to take a screenshot, write some comments on it and send it to your boss, vendor or customer. It just makes this process so simple! A competing tool is SnagIt which is a paid software and has more features.
Having to keep too many Instant Messenger(IM) open is a pain. Pidgin combines all your IMs into one. This could be Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, MSN or Skype. It connects with most of the popular IMs available today. So, you can keep only one application open, separate your private and office stuff (using groupings) and use it for your business. It still does not support gtalk file transfer and voice calls though!
It allows you to express complex ideas on your computer by diagrams. This mind-mapping software has most of the bells and whistles of a commercial mind mapping software but does not have a price tag associated with it. It frees your mind from remembering complex ideas and helps you expand your thoughts.
A free/paid screen mockup and wireframe software that will allow you to make quick screen mockup for developers. This is one of the best free software I intend to use regularly. The free version has limits on number of active wire-frames.
Even though file transfer with FTP is becoming a thing of past due to proliferation of cloud based storage, this tool is simple to use and should be at your desktop to do quick file transfers.
This is a great tool for Getting Things Done (GTD), the simple web 2.0 interface allows you to keep track of all your tasks and deadlines. There are plenty add-ins for various browsers, iphones, android etc. that makes it easy to access your tasks on the go.
Helps sync your files between various systems using the direct copy or ftp protocol. Once you set it up, it will remember to sync your important files at regular intervals.
In my opinion this is the most useful compressing program that replaces winzip, winrar and the compression algorithm bundled with the windows.
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So what are your favorite productivity tools?
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SK Dutta is a software architect and creator of OfficeClip Suite of products. He loves to design and develop software that makes people do their job better and more fun. He always explores ways to improve productivity for small businesses. He is also an avid reader in many areas, including psychology, productivity, and business.